PORTSMOUTH — New documents filed in the case of Michael Mearan allege the former Portsmouth City Councilman and attorney demeaned several female clients and used them in sex-for-hire appointments.
According to documents filed by prosecutors Friday, Jan. 8, Mearan allegedly pocketed money raised in sex-for-hire appointments, verbally abused women, and called them “the product.” The documents accuse Mearan of using his position as an attorney to cultivate and exploit relationships with vulnerable females he was representing, satisfying his sexual needs and those of his co-conspirators.
“Defendant frequently targeted women who had drug addictions, were indigent and were facing criminal charges,” records state. “Defendant both implicitly, and explicitly, linked his continued representation of the women to their continued compliance. Defendant used women’s fear of imprisonment on their criminal charges, their desperation, and their drug addictions to compel them to engage in sexual activity for hire at his direction and for his benefit.”
In the documents, victims were not named, but their accounts were shared with the courts. One client stated Mearan bragged about his crimes stating, “he had been under investigation for 20 years and nothing had happened to him.”
Other women shared that Mearan would often have “Johns” at his office who would belittle the women and would not hesitate to grope them. The environment was likened to a “meat market” and the women were referred to as ”the product.”
“Jane Doe 4 reported that Defendant verbally threatened her, often making her feel like a ‘dirty piece of sh—t,’” according to documents. “Jane Doe 4 complied with Defendant’s demands, as he continued to represent her in court throughout all of this. If she told him no, he would often respond with threats to not “help” her anymore.”
The documents also allege Mearan kept in contact with his clients while incarcerated and paid them to find more women to offer to “Johns.”
The new documents detail many of the same incidents reported in an article by the Cincinnati Enquirer in March 2019 after the newspaper investigated allegations of sex trafficking in Portsmouth.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Scioto County Prosecutor Shane Tieman announced Friday, Oct. 23, the indictment of Mearan on 18 felony counts related to human trafficking spanning 15 years.
Mearan pleaded not guilty to all 18 charges at the County Common Court of Pleas, where his bond was set at $300,000. Mearan posted his $300,000 bail Wednesday, Oct. 28, through the Jim Peach Bail Bond Services.
According to court records, Mearan is representing himself in court. On Nov. 18, Mearan requested a Notice of Appearance and court records filed from that date show Mearan as his own counsel. Mearan also filed a Motion to Compel Discovery on behalf of himself, which is a request for evidence, documents, and other information from the opposition.
“I’m waiting to find out who the people (alleged victims) are,” Mearan told The Enquirer om Jam 12. “At this point, I still don’t know what I’m accused of doing(…) It doesn’t say when, where, who. Nothing.”
Prosecutors are expected to file with the court not to allow Mearan to represent himself. If Mearan is permitted to represent himself, he will have the ability to cross-examine his alleged victims. Mearan’s next court date is slated for Jan. 21.
Reach Adam Black at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1927, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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